Our grassroots campaign Fix Pension Poverty is taking root in communities all over Australia
The Benevolent Society's Fix Pension Poverty campaign is getting out into strategically and politically important communities to build a groundswell of support for better wellbeing among older Australians, particularly those living on the age pension.
Our Fix Pension Poverty team has taken to the road in a busy second half of 2017. The launch of the ‘Adequacy of the Age Pension’ report in 2016 was followed by a ‘Grand Tour’ of capital cities to win over key stakeholders and policy experts to our campaign.
We are engaging with communities to whom we do not now deliver services. This means we will be working with a limited number of strategically and politically important communities to help build a groundswell of support for better wellbeing among older Australians, particularly those living on the age pension.
Fortunately for us at The Benevolent Society, older Australians have shown considerable interest in our campaign. These seniors are very well organised, and belong to support groups such as National Seniors, the Combined Pensioners and Superannuants Association Rotary, Retired Members’ divisions of various trade unions, the Country Women’s Association and Fair Go for Pensioners, among many others. These organisations have been our friends as we’ve visited various neighbourhood centres and community support organisation, helping us reach potential supporters for our campaign. Importantly, we are starting to meet community leaders and activists who will be able to work with us to make sure that the Fix Pension Poverty campaign reflects the communities we visit.
Delivering a strong local campaign driven by people who live in the regions rather than by a large city organisations is the best way to get the attention of a nervous Member of Parliament representing a marginal electorate, and ultimately the government of the day. Therefore, Central Queensland, the North Coast of NSW and eastern Adelaide are the main focus of the first stage of the Fix Pension Poverty campaign, with middle-ring Sydney and the La Trobe Valley in Victoria close behind. By the time the next Federal election comes around, we hope to be active along the Murray River border towns and throughout Hobart. We have a lot of ground to cover.
Fix Pension Poverty is an ambitious campaign, tackling policies such as:
- a better go for people who rent
- affordable access to dental care
- ensuring that older Australians can afford to be connected to the internet.
These issues are not new and have been campaigned on before, and yet the problems continue to exist. To succeed, to make an impact nationally, we need to build upon support in many communities across Australia, developed over time through personal relationships.
This campaign is about building relationships and supporting local communities to have a voice in the decisions affecting their lives.
If you’re in any of the communities mentioned in this post, and would like to hear from the Fix Pension Poverty campaign, contact Joel Pringle, Advocacy Campaigner, on 02 8262 3400 or check out www.fixpensionpoverty.org.au.
*Names and images have been changed to protect members of the family